Nigeria Remembers Okwaraji At Cup Games
Nigeria remembers Okwaraji at Cup games
Former Nigerian international, Samuel Sochukwuma Okwaraji (19 May 1964 – 12 August 1989) was a professional footballer who played internationally for Nigeria. He was also a qualified
lawyer who had a masters in international law from the University of Rome.
He collapsed and died of congestive heart failure in the 77th
minute of a World Cup qualification match
against Angola at the Lagos National Stadium in Surulere, Lagos State on 12 August 1989, will
be remembered by the country's football federation during the Federation Cup
games billed to hold this Wednesday.
According to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), the portrait of late
Okwaraji will be displayed at the eight venues for the quarterfinal matches in
the Federation Cup for men and women.
"On Wednesday, the portrait of the late midfielder would be displayed
round the eight venues of the Federation Cup quarterfinals in remembrance of
him: Enugu, Benin City, Neros Stadium, Oleh, Lokoja, Abuja, Ilorin and Makurdi,"
the NFF official website stated.
The NFF president, Amaju Pinnick, took time off on the eve of the 26th
anniversary of Okwaraji's death, to eulogise the late footballer and also speak
to his mother, Mrs Jane Okwaraji.
“Mama, there is nothing I can say other than to tell you to continue to take
solace in the fact that Sochukwuma was a star for Nigeria, a name that no one
has been able to forget no matter how much they tried. He was the
quintessential professional and patriot per excellence.
“Please be rest assured that Sochukwuma will continue to be in our hearts and
consciousness. He was a rare gem. I assure you that the NFF will continue to
keep in touch with you," Pinnick to Mrs Okwaraji over the telephone.
Brother of the late footballer, Patrick Okwaraji, said the telephone call by
Pinnick was uplifting.“We are grateful to the NFF President for his phone call.
At least, Mama is feeling better now,” said Patrick Okwaraji.
Pinnick went on to described Okwaraji as "a consummate professional."
“It was a horrible day, for someone like me and several other Nigerians who
were right inside the National Stadium, Lagos that day. By all accounts,
Sam Okwaraji was a consummate professional and was a shining example of
patriotic fervour,” Pinnick said.
Okwaraji died at the age of 25 while featuring for Nigeria in a 1990 Fifa World
Cup qualifying match against Angola at the National
Stadium in Lagos on August 12, 1989.
The former Nigerian international collapsed and died 13 minutes before the end
of the match against Angola and reports later
revealed that Okwaraji died of an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.